Optimistically, I have had faith in the concept that impossible doesn’t really exist. The credit for that thought goes to my inner child with a vibrant and overactive imagination. In reality, I know there are limits.
Our culture is in puberty. It seems to have gotten stuck in the forgot-deodorant-for-PE stage for awhile now. There are parts that just plain stink. The most recent growling, hissing and feather ruffling around the waterhole came from the idea that women can’t have it all.
Let me wet my whistle and step up onto this here soap box. As I type this post, I have a ten week old baby peacefully slumbering on my lap. I am coming up on three months of attempting to balance life that can only be described as juggling cats trying to avoid a bath.
Entrepreneurs take on washing reluctant cats every day. The ones I would label as successful struggle to balance their personal resources between directing their idea’s life and riding along with the waves of life. Opportunities come up that would be marketing gold for a future self-cloning company like having to choose between hopping on a plane to pitch to a potential investor or going to their daughter’s high school graduation.
I get it – the pressure is on.
“The decision to step down from a position of power—to value family over professional advancement, even for a time—is directly at odds with the prevailing social pressures on career professionals in the United States.” – Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Atlantic
Going it alone gives impossible a permanent residence.
“When you work together with your teammates, you can do remarkable things. If you work alone, you leave a lot of victories on the table.” – John C. Maxwell, The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player
Both chapters of starting a business and having a baby bring out your true fans. These are people that are willing to help you vacuum up the impossible and set it out with the trash. Our culture in the haze of “I’ll just do it myself” takes on more weight than was ever meant to be carried by one person. Too often I see people quick to point out faults while they are slow to acknowledge and celebrate progress. We build cheap bridges, expect them to hold up without maintenance and are disappointed when they fall when we most need them. Reality is photoshopped, glued onto billboards and marketed as “You can have it all!” with an asterisk at the bottom, results not typical.
I want to bake my future, decorate it with experience and then share it in celebration with my friends and family. If anyone says the sole reason I am craving a slice of life cake is because of my maternal instincts, they must also firmly believe that money grows on trees. At the present moment, there is only one real thing I should be and that is thankful. While I don’t identify with the Silicon Valley executives, I do however fall into the extremely blessed group of working moms that can work from home.
You won’t find people literally or figuratively more flexible than yogis. I have been getting to know this unique breed for over a year now, directly serving under BizeeBee‘s CEO and Founder Poornima Vijayashanker, as well as mat loving entrepreneurs around the country. I find telling Poornima’s story is an honor. Her story of being the second employee at Mint.com intrigued me during a conference she was speaking at in Seattle. That was the first of many stories I would get to hear. I have first hand seen her values of encouraging those around her to beat the odds and challenge assumptions of the impossible.
So, do I expect to have my life dipped in chrome and sporting giant Coach Cs? No. I do expect that our culture, in and out of the office, will mature and maybe even listen to its Grandma by supporting anyone who wants to have a family and a career. Anyone who wants to grow their business as well as make it to their daughter’s track meet is not crazy or asking for the world. I am not talking unreasonable and certainly not asking for the impossible.
Enjoy your cake.